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Seasonal Allergies – An Herbalist Prespective

Mar 18, 2022 | Herbalism Blog | 0 comments

Every year at the end of March, I get ecstatic with anticipation of spring. After the long winter, the longer day, the warmth of the sun, and the vibrancy of the first emerging leaves inspire and energize me. 

heron on a tree

The Herons are back

 

I know that not everybody is looking forward to spring as much as I do. For people that struggle with seasonal allergies, spring can be the worst time of the year. Symptoms such as drippy nose, congestion, teary eyes, and dry, itchy skin might make you feel exhausted.

 

A conventional approach to seasonal allergies will mostly prescribe antihistamines for reducing the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Using antihistamine, you ignore the alarm signal that your body is sending. Moreover, once you understand your symptoms not as the disease but as the body’s attempt to heal itself, you might decide that you do not want to reduce your symptoms but rather solve the underlying imbalance.  

Seasonal allergies are an imbalance in the immune system. Things that normally should not trigger an immune response do that. Your immune system is overactive.

 

Meet the Immune System:

The immune system is made out of four layers:

  • The physical barrier is made out of the skin and the mucus membrane. 
  • Physiological immunity consists of the differences in temperature and PH in different body parts.
  • The innate immune response is a non-specific immune response. It knows how to differentiate between proteins belonging to self and foreign proteins such as bacteria and viruses.
  • The adaptive immune response is a specific immune response. It trains immune cells to recognize specific proteins. For example, if you had chickenpox, you developed immune cells, antibodies that know how to identify and eliminate the chickenpox virus before you even develop symptoms.

 

Seasonal allergies manifest imbalance in two layers of the immune system: the mucus membrane and mast cells. Mast cells belong to both the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. 

 

The mucus membrane: 

The mucus is a gooey substance meant to trap foreign pathogens from entering your body. It is made out of water, salts, and white blood cells. When you breathe in pollen, most if not all of it should be trapped in the mucus in your nose, throat, and lungs and expelled by sneezing, coughing, or swallowing. 

Understanding the role of the mucus might make you reconsider taking antihistamines to dry the mucus. Now you might begin to look at the mucus membrane as a protective mechanism, a pesky one but nevertheless not one you want to shut down. 

Meet the Mast cells

Mast cells are white blood cells found in connective tissues, especially in the respiratory system, lymph, and gut. Mast cells interface between your body and the outside world. They do that by being the first to sound the alarms if a foreign pathogen invades the body.

Mast cells contain small sacs called granules in them. These granules are filled with inflammatory messengers (such as histamine) released from the cells by degranulation when a pathogen triggers the cell.

An inflammatory response follows heat, Puffiness, redness, and pain or itchiness.

What is Histamine?

Histamine is the most known inflammatory mediator. It is responsible for most of the allergic responses in the respiratory system and the skin. (hay fever and hives)

Some of the histamines in your body are created by your body, but some are ingested with food. (fermented food and processed meat)

Allergies happen when mast cells become overactive and release histamine for every minor stimulant. Thinks that can make your mast cells highly sensitive are:

  • High toxic overload
  • Imbalances in the gut such as leaky gut or SIBO
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Stress.

 

A holistic healing protocol for healing the gut should include:

Next month in the Inner Circle, I break down the protocol for seasonal allergies to a step-by-step plan that will help you make the lifestyle needed for you to hop into spring full of energy and enthusiasm.

 

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Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

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